The 14 Best Natural Shampoos of 2023

Our best overall pick is the Odacité 552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar

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Best Natural Shampoos

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

If you haven’t yet tried a natural shampoo, we don’t blame you. While there’s no regulated or industry-agreed definition of what constitutes a natural shampoo, they’re typically thought to be free of sulfates (the detergents traditionally used that can be very stripping to hair). Sulfates, however, are also what make shampoos foam up—which is why natural shampoos often get a bad rap for not being enjoyable to use or effectively cleansing. But here’s the thing—natural shampoos have come a looong way. The latest iterations are free of sulfates (and many other questionable chemicals and ingredients) but still deliver just as well as their traditional counterparts, both in terms of in-shower experience and the after-effects on your hair.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our top choice in natural shampoos is the Odacité 552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar, which is made with completely natural ingredients to hydrate and cleanse for shiny and voluminous hair. For a more budget-friendly pick, we also love the Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo— it contains lemongrass and argan oil to clean the scalp without drying.

To find the best natural shampoos on the market, we conducted hours of research, evaluating our options based on their active ingredients, how clean their formulas were, and what other hair-improving benefits each pick had. After consulting testing insights from our team and considering dozens of options, we landed on these top-rated picks.

Read on for the best natural shampoos.

Best Overall

ODACITÉ 552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar

4.4
552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Environmentally sustainable

  • Lathers well

  • Gives hair shine and volume

What We Don't Like
  • Can be hard to hold while washing

If you're looking for a natural formula that's also good for the environment, you're in luck. This universally loved shampoo may be a solid instead of a liquid, but it doesn't cut down on quality—offering a great lather and salon-grade results. It's made with all-natural ingredients like argan oil, castor oil, and cupuaçu butter for nourished, healthy strands. To top it off, it has orange oil and coconut oil in its formula for a lovely, tropical scent.

Reviewers love that it cleanses their scalp well without leaving a residue, and it leaves their hair hydrated. They also love that one bar can last them months with washing a couple times a week.

Price at time of publish: $29

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrus | Size: 3.7 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Editors Say

"I was hesitant at first to use a shampoo bar—but am a loyalist to Odacité for its powerful botanical formulas so I tried this. I was blown away by the suds created by this shampoo bar, which is soap-free and extremely nourishing. My hair had amazing volume and scalp felt squeaky-clean after just one use. Plus, there's no plastic packaging so this natural option is also a sustainable one." — Jill Di Donato, Senior Commerce Editor

Best Budget

Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo

Acure Curiously Clarifying
What We Like
  • For all hair types

  • Good value

  • Balancing formula

What We Don't Like
  • Scent is powerful

This brand is known for offering affordable natural products, and this shampoo is no exception. It’s free of sulfates, formaldehyde, dyes, and parabens, among other things. Yes, it is clarifying and great to reach for when you’re feeling like you have excess product build-up on your hair and scalp, but it doesn't strip your hair of moisture. Credit the addition of argan oil, your hair’s BFF when it comes to hydration. Bonus points for the refreshing and invigorating lemongrass scent.

Price at time of publish: $22

Hair Type: All, oily | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Lemongrass | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Shine

WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

4.2
WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Amazon

What We Like
  • Gives hair shine

  • Helps promote healthy hair growth

  • Clarifies scalp

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

This fan-favorite relies on 100% raw and natural Himalayan apple cider vinegar, which among other things, acts as a reset for hair and scalp. It removes build-up and color-dulling minerals from hard water, so your hair is left looking shinier than ever. As a bonus, it also contains saw palmetto, a plant-based extract that can do great things for your scalp when it comes to promoting healthier hair growth.

Price at time of publish: $17

Hair Type: Oily, thinning | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Essential oil derived | Size: 16.9 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

wow apple cider vinegar shampoo

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

What Our Testers Say

"This shampoo felt a lot like what other shampoos feel like in my hand—slippery and soapy. In my hair, it felt a lot like other shampoos feel like, too: It was foamy, I had no issues rubbing it in, and it washed out easily. I found that my hair was shinier, smoother, and healthier-feeling the next day." — Leigh Wingus, Product Tester

Best Powder

Meow Meow Tweet Rose Geranium Shampoo Powder

Meow Meow Tweet Rose Geranium Shampoo Powder
What We Like
  • For all hair types

  • Environmentally sustainable

  • Fun to use

What We Don't Like
  • May need to use more product for thicker hair types

Sure, this could be considered a “dry” shampoo... but not a dry shampoo in the traditional sense. You simply mix a small amount of the plant-based powder with water until it turns into a luscious lather, similar to that of a traditional shampoo. It contains softening aloe and marshmallow extract and has a delightful floral scent. Plus, one bottle lasts as long as four shampoo bottles and is made from totally recyclable packaging, a major environmental boon.

Price at time of publish: $24

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Rose geranium | Size: 2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Editors Say

“Putting the environmental benefits of powder shampoo aside, this shampoo really works. I have an oily scalp, so I'm particular about my natural and sulfate-free formulas, but Meow Meow Tweet's shampoo really works into a lather and gives my hair a fresh, clean feeling. Plus, a travel-size packet lasted me about as long as a regular bottle of shampoo—a little goes a long way.” Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial & Strategy Director

Best Strenghtening

Reverie Suna Exfoliating Shampoo

Reverie Suna Exfoliating Shampoo

Revolve

What We Like
  • For all hair types

  • Naturally-derived scent

  • Contains amino acids

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note that it may not be hydrating enough for drier hair types

This top-rated pick is effective on all hair types and textures, from straight and fine to coarse and curly. That’s no easy feat for any shampoo, much less one that’s this natural, free of sulfates, parabens, and a litany of other chemicals. Instead, it relies on botanical ingredients (that are sustainably sourced, no less), like amino acids from almonds to strengthen your strands and a mix of essential oils that give it its lovely scent profile.

Price at time of publish: $38

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Neroli, pink grapefruit, jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

Native Almond & Shea Butter Strengthening Shampoo

Native Shampoo

Walmart

What We Like
  • For all hair types

  • Naturally-derived scent

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers say it can leave a residue

Believe it, you can find a great natural shampoo at the drugstore, and this one is proof positive. From the brand that makes one of the best natural deodorants out there, this pick not only contains only 10 clean ingredients, it actually clearly details them and explains what each one is on the ingredient label. We like this strengthening pick, though there are also volumizing and moisturizing variants (each with its own great scent).

Price at time of publish: $10

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Almond & shea butter | Size: 16.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Natural Hair

Adiva Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Herbal Rinse

Adiva Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Herbal Rinse
What We Like
  • Good for both scalp and hair

  • Clarifies scalp

  • Herbal formula

What We Don't Like
  • Can’t be used as a traditional shampoo

Key Ingredients

Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice formed by when yeast mixes with the sugar of the juice. It contains acetic acid, which has antibacterial and keratolytic properties, and it also contains malic acid, a gentle chemical exfoliant.

The ingredient list on this shampoo alternative is super minimal and clean. Apple cider vinegar helps to deliver a clean scalp by restoring pH levels, which in turn reduces both grease and itching. It's a good shampoo alternative, but it’s awesome to use it as a clarifying treatment in between wash days, especially on curls or natural hair.

Price at time of publish: $28

Hair Type: Natural, curly | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Mint | Size: 16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Fine Hair

100% Pure Kelp & Mint Volumizing Shampoo

100% Pure Kelp & Mint

Courtesy of Dermstore

What We Like
  • Doesn’t leave any residue

  • Contains certified organic ingredients

  • Gentle formula

What We Don't Like
  • May not be hydrating enough for drier hair types

We totally get being wary of natural shampoos if you happen to have fine hair. After all, even the tiniest trace of any leftover residue can be a recipe for hair that falls flat and looks greasy. Lucky for you, this product not only rinses hair clean (taking with it all the stuff that can weigh things down), but it also works wonders to boost limp hair with, yep, totally natural ingredients. More specifically, the product's namesake kelp and mint extracts invigorate and boost your roots.

Price at time of publish: $34

Hair Type: Fine, thin | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Mint | Size: 13 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Curly Hair

Alaffia Curl Enhancing Shampoo

Alaffia Curl Enhancing Shampoo
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Minimal ingredient list

  • Hydrates curls

What We Don't Like
  • May contribute to buildup

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times—curly hair is structurally and compositionally different from straight hair and therefore needs different types of products. Using the right shampoo for your curls is paramount—it's the foundation to ensure you end up with the exact style and curl pattern you want post-washing. This one is a great choice, without any silicones, parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, or artificial color. Instead, it touts raw shea butter and botanical extracts to cleanse and hydrate your curls.

Price at time of publish: $12

Hair Type: Curly | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Essential oil derived | Size: 12 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Hair

Goop G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo

G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo

 Courtesy of Goop

What We Like
  • Foams nicely

  • Fresh scent

  • Multi-tasking formula

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note that it has a strong smell

Consider this shampoo-scalp scrub hybrid an absolute must if you have oily hair (and/or an oily scalp, for that matter). It’s essentially a whipped shampoo that has tiny bits of exfoliating Himalayan sea salt mixed in for exfoliating purposes... it sounds a little strange, but trust us, it works. It’s not in the least bit harsh or scratchy—the salt quickly dissolves—and the result is so purifying that you could easily call it a clarifying shampoo, great to reach for whenever you really want your hair to feel extra clean and fresh.

Price at time of publish: $55

Hair Type: Oily | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Rosemary, geranium, orange, peppermint | Size: 6.7 ounces or 0.8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Dry Hair

Rahua Hydration Shampoo

Rahua Hydration Shampoo

Courtesy of Rahua 

What We Like
  • Moisturizes

  • Combats damage

  • Sophisticated scent

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note that it has a strong smell

A staple shampoo for team Byrdie (and previous Eco Beauty Award Winner), this is a great pick for all hair types, though it’s especially good if you have dry hair. Coconut and shea butter impart plenty of moisture, but despite the richer formula, this still cleanses and rinses extremely well. There are protein-bonding sugars in the mix, too, a major plus for combating any damage. And we’d be remiss not to mention the signature scent, a heady palo santo fragrance that we love.

Price at time of publish: $36

Hair Type: All, except oily | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Palo santo | Size: 9.3 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Color-Treated Hair

Innersense Color Awakening Hairbath

Innersense Color Awakening Hair Bath

 Courtesy of Innersense 

What We Like
  • Available in three sizes

  • Citrusy, essential oil-derived scent

  • Strengthening formula

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note that it's not hydrating

Sulfates are one of the biggest culprits for color-fading, so generally speaking, going with a natural shampoo is a great move if you dye your hair. Not to mention that natural shampoos are gentler and less damaging on your hair, and the healthier your hair is, the better your color will look. But this one is especially great, given that it not only won’t strip your shade but is also full of ingredients such as coconut and pumpkin seed oils to both protect and enhance your color at the same time. Plus, it works on all textures, too.

Price at time of publish: $28

Hair Type: All, colored | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrusy | Size: 2, 10, or 32 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Thinning Hair

Avalon Organics B-Complex Biotin Thickening Shampoo

Avalon Organics Shampoo, Thickening, Biotin B-Complex

 Courtesy of Walgreen

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Certified organic and EWG verified

  • Gentle, soothing formula

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't lather well

This is a great option for anyone dealing with thinning hair (as well as another top-notch, affordable drugstore pick). Credit the addition of proven ingredients such as biotin, saw palmetto, vitamin E, and protein to boost hair's body, leaving it thicker and fuller. As far as the natural formula goes, it’s so natural that it’s both certified-organic and verified by the Environmental Working Group.

Price at time of publish: $14

Hair Type: All, thinning | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrusy, herbaceous | Size: 32 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shampoo Concentrate

Everist Waterless Shampoo Concentrate

Everist Waterless Shampoo Concentrate
What We Like
  • For all hair types

  • Environmentally sustainable

  • Great for travel

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note that it's not hydrating

Another great pick that also takes into consideration the environmental factor, this waterless formula is three times as concentrated as regular shampoo; the small, travel-friendly bottle lasts as long as a regular bottle. How to use it: Take anywhere from a 0.5-inch to 1.5-inch strip of the product (based on your hair length) and combine with water to transform it into regular shampoo. It works great for all hair types and textures, too, an attribute confirmed by many happy reviewers.

Price at time of publish: $24

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Bergamot, rosemary, sage | Size: 3.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

When it comes to team Byrdie natural shampoo favorites, we can’t go past the Odacité 552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar for its ability to cleanse and hydrate all hair types effectively. It’s nourishing but light and smells beautiful—clean and fresh but not too fragrant. We also love the affordable Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo that's infused with lemongrass and gently clarifies the scalp.

Meet the Expert

Garrett Markenson is a hairdresser based in Los Angeles. He is the founder of clean haircare brand Reverie.

What To Look for When Buying a Natural Shampoo

Hair Type

Taking your hair type into consideration is always important when buying shampoo, especially if you’re looking at a natural formulation. Dry, damaged, or coarse hair types can benefit from nourishing ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil, whereas fine and oily hair might like to look out for clarifying additions such as witch hazel. But keep in mind, it’s not one size fits all!

Ingredients

For Reverie founder and hairdresser Garrett Markenson, his clean hair care line was about “combining skincare methodology with haircare to achieve incredible results.” He believes that hair care should repair problems, not mask them, so incorporating effective, natural, nourishing botanical was a bit of a no-brainer. Some of the ingredients Markenson stays away from are silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan, micro-beads, PEGs, artificial fragrance, DEA, TEA, petroleum, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes.

Experience

If you’re transitioning to a natural shampoo for the first time, it’s important to be open to a slightly different hair washing experience. For example, silicones can be responsible for that silky hair feeling, and sulfates can give you that satisfying, foamy lather. Many natural options will be formulated without those, but with time you (and your hair) will adjust. However, if you finish a shampoo and you’re still not satisfied, we suggest trying something new. 

FAQ
  • What are the benefits of natural shampoos?

    These formulas contain fewer potentially questionable chemicals, but also, because they’re sulfate-free, tend to be gentler on hair. And that’s a major win for those with dry, damaged, and/or colored treated hair especially.

  • Are natural shampoos safe for all hair types?

    Yep, all hair types can use natural shampoos—especially because there are many different formulas geared to all different types, textures, and hair needs. The key is just to make sure you choose a formula that’s right for your hair since not all natural shampoos are necessarily considered equal.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She's tested countless shampoos—both traditional and natural—over the years, so she is well versed in the process.

Updated by Shannon Stubbs
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Evron E, Juhasz M, Babadjouni A, Mesinkovska NA. Natural Hair Supplement: Friend or Foe? Saw Palmetto, a Systematic Review in AlopeciaSkin Appendage Disord. 2020;6(6):329-337. doi:10.1159/000509905

  3. Ryssel H, Kloeters O, Germann G, Schäfer T, Wiedemann G, Oehlbauer M. The antimicrobial effect of acetic acid--an alternative to common local antiseptics? Burns. 2009 Aug;35(5):695-700. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2008.11.009

  4. Babilas P, Knie U, Abels C. Cosmetic and dermatologic use of alpha hydroxy acids: AHA in dermatology. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft. 2012;10(7):488-491. doi:10.1111/j.1610-0387.2012.07939.x

  5. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant OilsInt J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070

  6. EWG. AVALON Organics THERAPY biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo Rating.

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